THP: Docetaxel, Trastuzumab and Pertuzumab

Updated 
August 31, 2015

THP (docetaxelinfo-icon, trastuzumabinfo-icon and pertuzumabinfo-icon) is a chemotherapyinfo-icon regimeninfo-icon used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. It contains these medicines:

How THP Works

Docetaxelinfo-icon works by damaging the structure or the “skeleton” that supports cancer cells. This stops the cancer cells from growing and dividing.

Trastuzumabinfo-icon attaches to HER2 proteins on the surface of HER2-positive cancer cells and blocks the signals that cause cancer cells to multiply.  After attaching to cancer cells, it can also alert the immune systeminfo-icon to kill them.

Pertuzumabinfo-icon attaches to HER2 proteins on the surface of HER2-positive cancer cells and blocks the signals that cause cancer cells to multiply.  It attaches to the HER2 proteininfo-icon in a different way from trastuzumab, so the two medicines work together well. After attaching to cancer cells, it can also alert the immune system to kill them.

Who Gets THP

THP is used as neoadjuvant therapyinfo-icon, before surgeryinfo-icon, to treat HER2-positive breast cancers with:

  • A large tumorinfo-icon in the breast, or that have traveled to nearby lymphinfo-icon nodes, or
  • An inflammatory tumor, which causes the breast to look red and swollen and feel warm to the touch

THP is also used to treat metastaticinfo-icon HER2-positive breast cancer.

You and your doctor will discuss the best chemotherapyinfo-icon treatment for your situation.

How THP Is Given

THP is given by veininfo-icon. When given as neoadjuvant treatment before surgeryinfo-icon, THP is usually given four times, once every 3 weeks. After surgery, you will receive trastuzumabinfo-icon either weekly or once every 3 weeks for a total of a year. You may receive other chemotherapyinfo-icon as well.

For metastaticinfo-icon disease, THP is usually given once every 3 weeks. It may be given as long as it controls the disease and side effects do not disrupt your quality of lifeinfo-icon.

If your doctor recommends you stop docetaxelinfo-icon due to side effects, you may still be able to continue treatment with pertuzumabinfo-icon and trastuzumab.

Side Effects and Things to Remember

Different medicines have different side effects. You may not have every side effectinfo-icon related to each medicineinfo-icon of the combination therapyinfo-icon.  

Side effects of THP may include:

Heart problems are a rare but serious side effect of trastuzumab. These include congestive heart failure, when the heart muscle weakens and doesn’t pumpinfo-icon blood well. Your doctor will check your heart before you start treatment and every several months during treatment. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have ever had heart problems.

Tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the counter-medicines, to make sure they will not interfere with your chemotherapyinfo-icon treatment.

Contact your doctor right away if you develop a fever or other symptoms of an infectioninfo-icon such as a sore throat or chills.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacistinfo-icon or nurseinfo-icon about all your side effects so that they can help you manage them. You can also go to our section on Side Effects for more information.